'That's when the second plane hit; that's what it looked like'

    September 11th, 2001: What it looked like from the perspective of a first responder

    LANE COUNTY, Ore. - Our country was under attack just 17 years ago when two planes hit the World Trade Center, killing thousands.

    It’s clear that the effects from 9/11 still echo across the country.

    “That's when the second plane hit; that's what it looked like,” David Solomon, an Albany man says while pointing to a picture of the World Trade Center.

    He took most of the pictures he has from September 11, 2001.

    “These are people praying for someone to rescue them,” he says.

    He was also the second paramedic on scene when the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground.

    “There were people falling out of the building from up above, hundred stories up; there were people on fire,” he says.

    The chaos knocked out all cell phone reception in the area, leaving Solomon’s family with uncertainty.

    “Concern was there, of course, but I know he had to do what he needed to do,” his son, Allan Solomon, says.

    Solomon triaged and evacuated as many people as he could.

    “There was a couple, I remember, held hands and jumped together,” he says.

    But, there’s one person from that day who he will always remember – his 17-year-old EMT student, Richard Pearlman.

    “He said I'm down here it's a mess, I'm helping; I said Richard you're not trained enough,” Solomon says.

    Richard decided to help anyway.

    “He went into the building I heard two times, three times, then the building came down on him and he's dead,” Solomon says.

    Richard’s funeral was one of 53 that Solomon attended after the attack.

    “For some reason I thought it would get easier as time went, but it doesn't get easier,” he says.

    Solomon suffers from PTSD and asthma, something he has in common with many of the people that were there when the towers fell.

    According to the World Trade Center Health Registry, nearly 20 percent of those directly involved with 9/11 have PTSD along with an increase of asthma and various cancers.

    “To this day I think about it what happened,” he says.

    Body identifications are still ongoing – trying to give families closure on the day that our country will never forget.

    Solomon received the Liberty Award for his service that day.

    He lives in Oregon now with his wife and teaches first aid.

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